On their new album Armour, Spain’s super emotionally intense band Boneflower have turned an experience of grueling emotional weight into a cosmically streaking, surprisingly lively and vibrant experience. They’ve packed in dramatically lush but emotionally warranted and immersive tones so that listening feels somewhat like a spotlight on a concentrated divide between two worlds — what one is and what one would like to be, perhaps. There’s a core of gripping melodic hardcore and more blistering, chaotic screamo melodies that feel like a combination in the same moments of an emotional call-to-arms and the sting of defeat, and Boneflower perform with grippingly searing abandon, like their music packs a raging fire reaching all the way to the sky.
Their music feels defined by a thick and heavy but shimmering sound, like all the hits of the subtly bombastic hardcore melody are accompanied by streaks of sunset light streaking across the sky. Listening feels like peering at and soon after stepping into that emotionally illuminating light. The “point” isn’t what’s on the other side as much as it’s the refreshing freedom of the dramatic abandon of the performances from Boneflower on Armour, even as the listening experience eventually feels like hanging onto a dock during a battering from a storm as the intensity of the music increases.
On opening track “Saltpeter,” there’s a solemnly regal feel in the riff blasts before melody arrives that feels a bit more gritty and down to earth, in a sense, but the desperate forward energy keeps up for the whole run time. On that opening track, the singer proclaims that “nothing feels the same” – and wow, with their accessibly personal but driving, moving music, the band deliver the premise of that journey big time. It feels real and all right here.
A few tracks feature almost solely soft strumming, but rather than interludes, those portions feel like moments of contemplating the magnanimity in the emotion in the overall album sound. After one of those slowed down tracks, Boneflower build up gradually more and more intensely until the wild and blistering, incredibly fast song “Starless,” wherein every element feels like it’s shrieking as the hinted at emotional crush comes crashing down.
Towards Armour‘s end, the band turn towards softer and sadder-feeling tunes. Ultimately, Boneflower feel like they’ve dug into the richness of their music’s journey, and Armour feels memorably richly immersive.